book review: A La Carte
author: Tanita Davis
publisher: Knopf, 2008
main character: Elaine (Lainey) Seifert
Lainey spends most of her time in the kitchen of her mom’s restaurant and it is here that she develops a knowledge of culinary arts that is quite atypical for someone her age. Food is an important part of her life not only because it is how her mom earns a living, but because it is central to the strong relationship that Lainey and her mom have. As a result, Lainey is not a thin child. Because of all the time she spends with food and adults in the kitchen, she has few friends. Well, except for Simeon. Simeon has been Lainey’s friend forever. She has been so smitten by him that she has been oblivious to many things that have been going on with him. This relationship, which develops into a little triangle with a young man named Topher, is the driving force of the story. We wonder which of the young men will actually gain Lainey’s affection and I have to say I was quite pleased with the outcome. Lainey’s determination to become a chef with her own television show will give most teens of color a career they may not have previously considered.
themes: food; careers; deception